Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme

Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy projects


Search by keyword


Please note that the list of projects available will be increased over the next few weeks so please check frequently. Project details may also be subject to change before September 2017.


BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnerships




View all Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy projects

Transformation of South American waste glycerin into biofuel

The mini project will serve as an introduction to the available gene tools to be deployed in Clostridium pasteurianum. The student will:- (i) receive a safety induction to cover safe laboratory practice within the confines of SBRC laboratories and equipment within the Centre; (ii) be trained in the use of anaerobic cabinets and the cultivation of Clostridium pasteurianum; (iii) undertake CRISPR/Cas9-mediated and ClosTron-based gene knock-out(; (iv) become trained in the application of ACE technology, by integrative correction of a mutant pyrE allele in the chromosome.

Genome engineering for medicine and synthetic biology

For the mini project we will design a 'bite-sized' program addressing a simple question that can be addressed in the limited time available. The laboratory continually generates candidate recombinases with improved activities. Several of these will be made available to the student to investigate. Various approaches may be taken, ranging from biochemical analysis of the purified proteins, to testing their gene delivery and recombinational potential in cultured human cells. Ideally, biochemical analysis, using our established assays, would be correlated with the efficiency of transgenesis in cultured mammalian cells. This would provide the student with a broad-based training in the routine techniques of molecular and cell biology, as well as an exposure to advanced recombineering techniques.

Metabolic heterogeneity in isogenic microbial populations and its impact on bioproduction

The mini project will focus on designing and developing genetically encoded biosensors relevant to synthetic metabolic pathways for production of added value chemicals. It will serve as an introduction to the available gene tools and analytic techniques to be deployed in PhD project.

Engineering pathways and biosensor systems for production and detection of chemical compounds in bacteria

The use of biotechnology for the sustainable production of chemicals and materials, the synthesis of which has traditionally depended heavily on the fossil fuel-based chemical industry, is becoming increasingly important.

Molecular genetic studies of spider silk: from natural to synthetic fibres

The rotation will involve both bioinformatic and molecular laboratory elements to provide training in both these areas. Bioinformatic analysis will be made of previously obtained spider silk transcriptome data. Molecular genetic analysis will involve designing and carrying out PCR assays to confirm the location within and amongst silk glands of individual silk transcripts.

Investigation of Metastatic Cancers using a Perfusion Culture Bioreactor

Substrate preference of breast cancer cells. Metastasising cancer cells from specific primary origins tend to recolonise particular secondary sites, for example breast cancer cells most commonly disseminate to the lymph nodes, lungs and bone. Their choice of destination depends largely on the composition of the extracellular matrices present at the secondary location. The aim of this project is to optimise decellularisation protocols for various bovine (or porcine) tissues to enable breast cancer colonisation and harvesting to be achieved with sufficient yield for downstream applications, including clonogenic survival and analysis of genetic stability.

Microbial fuel cells for direct conversion of waste gases into electricity and chemicals

The overall aim of these training projects is to provide proof of concept that a gas fermenting bacterium (Cupriavidus) can be used in a microbial fuel cell to produce electricity and chemicals directly from dirty waste gases.

Regulation of clostridial butanol production by cell-cell communication

This mini project will serve as an introduction to anaerobic microbiology and the biology of the genus Clostridium. Its scientific objective will be the phenotypic characterisation of a C. acetobutylicum quorum sensing mutant.

Biotechnology with a pinch of salt - halophilic enzymes in tandem flow reactions

The goal of this proposal is to assemble a combined enzymatic system that will allow two sequential reactions to take place in flow. This system will generate amines from alcohols via a carbonyl intermediate. Amines are key functional groups of numerous intermediates for pharma and agrochemical applications, and enzymatic synthesis will offer a 'green' alternative to traditional methodologies. To overcome the limitations of mesophilic enzymes such as low stability in organic solvents, a novel system will be based on two halophilic biocatalysts that offer remarkable stability and excellent substrate scope. Both enzymes (HvADH2 and HvAAT1) are from the halophilic archaeon Haloferax volcanii. HvADH2 is exceptionally tolerant to organic solvents, has an unusually broad substrate scope, and shows enhanced stability upon covalent immobilization.

Fungal Sex for Strain Improvement in Biotechnology

Fungi are used in biotechnology for the production of a variety of valuable products including antibiotics, statins, enzymes, and foodstuffs. The overall PhD aims to exploit knowledge of fungal sexual reproduction to allow the development of novel and improved strains of fungi for the food, pharmaceutical, and industrial biotechnology sectors.

Chemicals and fuels from methane gas

During the six weeks rotation, the student will become familiar with the growth and manipulation of methanotrophic organisms and the use of the various gene tools available. Specifically, they will: (i) learn how to cultivate methanotrophic organisms using methane as the sole carbon source; (ii) how to electro-transform and conjugate from E.coli into methanotrophic organisms, how to screen putative mutants by colony PCR and agarose gel electrophoresis; learn how to assemble complex operons via Gibson/USER assembly, and; become familiar with DNA analysis software, CLC Bio WorkBench, DNASTAR and Vector NTI. (iii) undertake CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene knock-out.

Exploiting cell individuality to improve production by yeast and other fungi

Cell individuality describes the near-universal phenomenon whereby individuals within a population exhibit marked variation in phenotype, despite being genetically uniform. In an industrial production process using microorganisms, this means that only a portion of the population are likely to have optimal production activity and this is likely to be very wasteful. Therefore, harnessing this variation opens great opportunities for marked improvements to production processes.
Displaying 1 to 12 of 47
Previous 1 2 3 4 Next


Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Doctoral Training Programme

The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

Tel: +44 (0) 115 8466946